Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 10, 2018

Trump won't release Democratic memo as-is, Kim Jong Un invites South Korea's president to Pyongyang, and more


Trump won't release Democratic memo as-is

The White House sent a letter Friday evening to the House Intelligence Committee saying President Trump will not permit the publication of a memo compiled by committee Democrats unless it undergoes edits. "Although the president is inclined to declassify" the memo, wrote White House Counsel Don McGahn, it contains too many "properly classified and especially sensitive passages" and must be revised to "mitigate the risks." This document is a rebuttal of the memo compiled under Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), also on the House Intelligence Committee, which was published without redaction earlier this month despite its classified content. The Nunes memo alleges FBI and FISA court misconduct in 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.


Kim Jong Un invites South Korea's president to Pyongyang

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang for direct negotiations, Seoul said Saturday. This would be the first meeting between Korean leaders in more than a decade, and it marks a significant, if at present mostly symbolic, step toward rapprochement on the divided peninsula. The invitation to meet "at an early date" was personally extended by Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, over lunch with Moon, who "practically accepted" and replied, "Let's create conditions to make it happen," South Korean officials reported. Kim Yo Jong is in South Korea for the Winter Olympics, hosted in Pyeongchang and featuring united Korean teams.


Trump calls for GOP wave after second government shutdown

President Trump used the brief government shutdown Friday to call for a Republican wave in the 2018 midterm elections. "Without more Republicans in Congress, we were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our Military," he tweeted. The bipartisan budget Trump signed Friday includes a roughly $300 billion bump for military spending and domestic programs. The legislation was stalled late Thursday by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who unsuccessfully sought to maintain budget caps. It was the second shutdown in less than a month.


Trump defends Rob Porter after abuse allegations

President Trump on Friday defended Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary accused of physical and verbal abuse by two ex-wives. The president told the press Porter "says he's innocent," adding, "I think you have to remember that." Porter resigned Wednesday after the Daily Mail and The Intercept detailed the allegations against him, complete with graphic images. Trump called the accusations "very sad" and said "it's a tough time" for Porter. Still, Trump predicted Porter "will have a great career ahead of him" and said he'd done "a very good job" in the White House.


Another White House staffer resigns over abuse allegations

A second White House staffer on Friday followed Rob Porter in resigning his position over domestic abuse allegations. Former speechwriter David Sorensen left his role after his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, told The Washington Post he "ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine's coast." Corbett said she shared these accusations with the FBI months ago when Sorensen was subject to a background check. He has denied all allegations.


Israel strikes Iranian, Syrian targets in Syria in retaliation for Iranian drone

The Israeli military early on Saturday shot down an Iranian drone it said committed "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" by flying into Israeli air space. In retaliation later Saturday, Israel launched a "large-scale attack" of airstrikes on Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. In the process, an Israeli F-16 jet was shot down, a hit claimed by the Syrian army. The Iranian-Syrian alliance denied the initial drone flight entered Israeli territory and condemned Israel's response as "terrorist action." Israel in turn decried Iranian "aggression."


Dow closes up 330 points after turbulent week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday closed up 330 points, or 1.4 percent, after a rocky day that saw it span a range of more than 800 points. Friday's end-of-day buying also boosted the S&P index by 1.5 percent. Over the week, the Dow traveled some 20,000 points, fluctuations that stem from a strong January jobs report that "sparked … inflation fears and worries that interest rates could rise faster than expected," USA Today reports. Overall, the Dow closed Friday down 6.2 percent from Monday's opening bell.


No. 3 Justice Department official steps down

The third-in-command at the Department of Justice, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, is leaving her job, the DOJ announced Friday evening. Brand is moving into a new role as executive vice president of global governance for Walmart. She was confirmed by the Senate for the Justice Department position in May, just nine months ago. Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, Brand's former role is next in line to supervise the investigation should President Trump fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.


Las Vegas shooter autopsy released

Autopsy results were released for Stephen Paddock, the gunman who killed 58 people and wounded about 500 more in a mass shooting in Las Vegas in October. The autopsy confirmed Paddock died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and also found he had anti-anxiety medication in his system at the time of his death. Authorities say it did not shed light on his motive for the attack. "It seems that based on the autopsy reports there were no physical excuses for what Steve did," said his brother Eric Paddock.


House of Cards actor Reg Cathey dies at 59

Emmy-winning actor Reg Cathey died this week of unstated causes, producer David Simon announced Friday night. He was 59. Cathey is best known for his roles in Simon's The Wire and Netflix's House of Cards, where he played BBQ joint owner Freddy Hayes. He reportedly suffered from lung cancer, but that has not been confirmed as the cause of his death. "Not only a fine, masterful actor," Simon tweeted of Cathey, "but simply one of the most delightful human beings with whom I ever shared some long days on set."


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